14 books

#1  New York Times Bestseller

#1 BusinessWeek Bestseller

#1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable

Amazon Bestseller Rankings:

#8 iin Product Management

#22 in General Marketing

#22 in Sales Techniques

Author: Seth Godin

160 page

published: 2005

Purple Cow.jpg

You're either a Purple Cow or you're not. You're either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice.
What do Apple, Starbucks, Dyson and Pret a Manger have in common? How do they achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and-true brands to gasp their last? The old checklist of P's used by marketers - Pricing, Promotion, Publicity - aren't working anymore. The golden age of advertising is over. It's time to add a new P - the Purple Cow.
Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable. In his new bestseller, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It's a manifesto for anyone who wants to help create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place.

The cult classic that revolutionized marketing by teaching businesses that you’re either remarkable or invisible

Few authors have had the kind of lasting impact and global reach that Seth Godin has had. In a series of now-classic books that have been translated into 36 languages and reached millions of readers around the world, he has taught generations of readers how to make remarkable products and spread powerful ideas.In Purple Cow, first published in 2003 and revised and expanded in 2009, Godin launched a movement to make truly remarkable products that are worth marketing in the first place. Through stories about companies like Starbucks, JetBlue, Krispy Kreme, and Apple, coupled with his signature provocative style, he inspires readers to rethink what their marketing is really saying about their product. In a world that grows noisier by the day, Godin’s challenge has never been more relevant to writers, marketers, advertisers, entrepreneurs, makers, product managers, and anyone else who has something to share with the world. Penguin Random House

Seth Godin is the author of 18 international bestsellers that have changed the way people think about work and have been translated into 38 languages – among them Unleashing the Ideavirus, Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, Tribes, The Dip, Linchpin, Poke the Box, and All Marketers Are Liars. He writes the most popular marketing blog in the world and speaks to audiences around the world. He is the founder of the altMBA, the founder and former CEO of, the former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, and the founder of the pioneering online startup Yoyodyne. You can learn much more about him at  Penguin Random House

Built To Last: Successful Habits Of Visionary Companies

Authors: Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras

368 pages

published: 2004

Built To Lsst.jpg

Fundamentally altering the way executives think about long-term success, Built to Last has become a bible among CEOs and managers at prestigious corporations the world over. Using examples from such companies as Wal-Mart, 3M, P&G, and Johnson & Johnson, two professors at the Stanford Graduate School of Business conclude that vision is endemic to an organization's success. Comparisons with a list of also-rans-Pfizer, Ames, Norton, Colgate, Bristol Meyers, and Zenith-helped the authors to prove their central idea: visionary companies can stimulate progress while preserving their core businesses; they can sustain a sense of cultism, create BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals), and use unplanned progress to be successful year after year. aThis new edition features an introduction by the authors, describing what 

they've learned since the original publication about how their findings apply to international settings, nonprofits, corporations in need of transformation, and making predictions for the future.

5.0 out of 5 stars this book will undoubtably inspire you to reach great heights.

6 October 2016 - Published on

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[book:Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies|4122] was one of the first business books I've ever read. At the time, as an aspiring entrepreneur, James C. Collins spoke volume to me and how I should structure an everlasting company. Written by two Stanford University's Graduate School of Business professors, the level of knowledge and experience they jointly possess will exceed your expectations. The main point of the book is to either identify your business as a "clock builder" or a "time teller." Time tellers focus on being the loudest and most disruptive companies, while clock builders are more reserved and focus on growth and preserving their core values for centuries into the future. As a well researched book might indicate, the authors provide a tremendous amount of detail on what makes companies such as Coca-Cola, Citi Bank, Wal-Mart, Walt Disney, Nordstrom, stand the test of time. These companies have been active in our lives for generations and they reveal exactly how they have endured, and how they will continue to endure for many generations to come. Whether you are an entrepreneur, owner, middle management or a salesmen, this book will undoubtably inspire you to reach great heights. Joshua M. on

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for the CEO

28 April 2014 - Published on

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Anyone tasked with the daunting responsibility of running an organization is faced with the challenge of culture. In the event that you are the "lucky" successor to a founder or a turn-around situation (my professional scenarios all have been in this realm), the task of what to do, where to go, and how to get there are huge - the culture is either well established, failing, and needs to change, or the culture may have been one of personality, facing a vacuum, and needs to be institutionalized. Collins and Porras look at a series of companies that have transcended this challenge and have developed a visionary culture that withstands the test of time.  Ed Barton on

5.0 out of 5 stars Strongly recommend for students

1 August 2018 - Published on

Bought this to share with an intern working for me. Jim Collins has boiled down those criteria and focus areas which real leaders need to dedicate their hours to for long term success. No silly "How to Make Friends..." and other half-baked advice. Jim Collins does research and finds what actually works. My 30+ years in management and leadership matches perfectly. Strongly recommend for students, early professionals interested in long-term success, and the mid-level manager who feels they may not have been mentored in a quality environment.

Laura on

5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!

19 August 2018 - Published on

for anyone wanting to know what it takes to be a successful company, read this!
"Managers at visionary companies simply do not accept the proposition that they must choose between short-term performance or long-term success. They build first and foremost for the long term while simultaneously holding themselves to highly demanding short-term standards". p182 - one of my my favorite quotes in this bookjohnykarateon

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator Of Nike

Phil Knight

400 pages

published: 2018

Shoe Dog.jpg

This is a fascinating account from Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, of his life and the birth of one of the biggest shoe companies in the world. Many books have been written about Nike, but in Shoe Dog, you get to hear directly from the man responsible for its success.Phil Knight pours his heart out in this emotionally-charged account, and the results are

In this instant and tenacious New York Times bestseller, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight "offers a rare and revealing look at the notoriously media-shy man behind the swoosh" (Booklist, starred review), illuminating his company's early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world's most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

Bill Gates named Shoe Dog one of his five favorite books of 2016 and called it "an amazing tale, a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like. It's a messy,

perilous, and chaotic journey, riddled with mistakes, endless struggles, and sacrifice. Phil Knight opens up in ways few CEOs are willing to do."

Fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his car in 1963, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year. Today, Nike's annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight's Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world.

But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. In Shoe Dog, he tells his story at last. At twenty-four, Knight decides that rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, new, dynamic, different. He details the many risks he encountered, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors and hostile bankers--as well as his many thrilling triumphs. Above all, he recalls the relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers.

Together, harnessing the electrifying power of a bold vision and a shared belief in the transformative power of sports, they created a brand--and a culture--that changed everything.

and edit me. It's easy.

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Booksabout What It's Like to Run a Fast-Growing, Innovative Business

14 December 2016 - Published on

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Most business memoirs are self-serving, boring, and poorly written. To put it bluntly, they are “crap between covers.” There are very few business memoirs that are even good, since most of them make the person writing the memoir seem like a business savant who always knew the right answers and knew things would come out right. Great business memoirs are different. They portray a business situation as it was. Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog: A Memoir by The Creator of Nike is a great business memoir.Let’s cut to the chase. This will be a great read for anybody, but if you’re thinking about starting a business, especially a business that you expect to grow, this book belongs on your must-read list. You’ll learn things that you won’t learn anywhere else and you’ll learn things that you can only learn from a story.You’ll learn about the constant struggle to fund growth. Most of the books about entrepreneurship don’t tell you about that. If you start a business and that business starts to grow, you are funding the process out ahead of your cash flow. The result is that you’re chronically cash poor, even when you’re fabulously profitable, and that is both counterintuitive and very tough to manage.You’ll also learn about the plusses and minuses of going public. There’s a lot here about relationships and values, and staying true to what you think is important. There are lessons about how putting people in the right job makes all the difference. And, there are lessons about balancing being a hero at work with being a parent at home.There are also important lessons about not taking yourself too seriously. Knight describes the “executive retreats” that Nike would have. They called them “Buttface sessions.” The name came from one of the early employees who said that Nike was the only company their size where you could shout out “Hey, buttface!” and the entire management team would turn around.There’s another important thing, too. If you think that innovation is only something that high-tech companies do, or that it requires coding, read this book. A lot of Nike’s success comes from being an innovator in shoes.Shoe Dog is superbly written, and you’ll enjoy it if you just read it as a story. But if you’re in business, and especially if you’re starting a business and wanting to make it grow, this book should be on your must-read list. Keep it handy, right near Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing about Hard Things.Toward the end of the book, Phil Knight says this:“God, how I wish I could relive the whole thing. Short of that, I’d like to share the experience, the ups and downs, so that some young man or woman, somewhere, going through the same trials and ordeals might be inspired or comforted. Or warned. Some young entrepreneur, maybe, some athlete or painter or novelist, might press on.”I think he achieved his goal. If you want some seasoned advice to help you run and grow your company, or if you just want to read a great business memoir, pick up a copy of Shoe Dog: A Memoir by The Creator of Nike. Wally Bock on

5.0 out of 5 stars Knight is the most interesting person I never knew I wanted to meet

22 January 2017 - Published on

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I haven't picked out my next book yet, but I'm prepared to be let down. This one's going to be hard to beat. Shoe Dog is laugh-out-loud funny; it's sad; it's exciting; it's smart; it's honest; it's inspiring. I didn't want to reach the last page. I closed the book craving more, so I immediately slid into fanatic mode and discovered that a pilgrimage to the Nike campus in Beaverton would take me 39 hours. And there's not even a tour. So now I'm back to normal, but I still very enthusiastically recommend this book. In the most basic terms, Phil Knight's story is one of success. It's no secret that Nike is a giant, but Knight nevertheless creates page-turning suspense at several junctures. He also gives us an intimate look at his personal life, which makes complete sense, because business is personal. For people who truly believe in what they're doing, it's impossible to separate the two. Knight's passion is punctuated by his referring to Nike as his business child and with his proclamation that "if it ever does become just business, that will mean that business is very bad." He is the most interesting person I never knew I wanted to meet.Missy Reid on

5.0 out of 5 stars Genius

19 December 2017 - Published on

It may seem surprising that a review of a “sports book” would appear on my site, where book reviews are essentially reserved for the domain of politics and economics. But that surprise would stem from a gigantic misunderstanding, for Shoedog is no “sports book.” Rather, it is a virtual economics textbook. And one every business student in America should read. Indeed, it is one a certain White House occupant should read as welFor those interested in sports, as Iam, history, as I am, and business, as I am, this book was a tremendous synthesis of the three, in the particular context of describing the birth of one of the greatest brands in American history – indeed, in world history … I doubt the story of a company’s founding and rise to greatness has ever ended a couple decades before the company’s peak, but that is the genius of Shoedog. Nike founder, Phil Knight, begins the story of this iconic brand at the most embryonic of stages, and ends the story in 1980, at their public offering, despite two and a half decades of utter domination that commenced subsequently. The story of Nike to us mere mortals is Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, and “Just Do It.” But as readers of this fine book will discover, the real story of Nike took place in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s, as the formative challenges that make a business took place. And if any company would become rightful heir to “Just Do It” — it was Nike.Nike has employed hundreds of thousands of people over the decades, and has created untold amounts of wealth by giving consumers something they wanted: Initially, a high quality running shoe; eventually, a brand — a belief — an affiliation. But the genius of finding future basketball, track, and golf stars to endorse the brand was a small part of the story of this company’s ascension. The genius that created Nike is the genius of this book: It focused on personnel management, on global cost synergies, on harnessing an international supply chain the likes of which the world had never seen, on overcoming legal adversity, and above all else, managing the challenges of liquidity and capital that nearly any company faces in the early innings of their existence. This is an economics book. It is a tribute to the miracle of free trade which has created more wealth than any other phenomena in the history of civilization. It is a rebuke of the evils of crony capitalism and those rent-seeking piranhas who would attempt to use government alliances to strangle healthy competition.We are living in an era when forces on the right and the left are capitulating to a childish view of globalization — one seeking to make it a bogeyman for anything and everything — and ignoring the absolutely indisputable evidence for the enhancement of quality of life globalization has created. Few companies better illustrate what matching willing buyers and sellers around the world can mean for consumers, for producers, for shareholders, for employees, and for indeed all stakeholders in a given organization than Nike. While countless others do, for it is a universal lesson, Nike is the story of a young man and his track coach creating $100 billion of wealth that has circulated across a vast, vast ecosystem, by understanding the miracles of global trade. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough for one looking for a biographical narrative version of an economics lesson, versus the academic attempts that often prove too dry. The story of Shoedog was anything but dry, and the message of Shoedog is anything but trite.

ext and edit me. It's easy David L. Bahnsen on

Zero To One: Notes On Strt-Up, Or How To Build The Future

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Authors: Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

210 pages

published: 2014

Zeo To One.jpg

Many businesses come up quickly in today’s world, then crumble just as quickly. Among other factors, this is due to a lack of originality and creativity in solving problems. In this book, Thiel takes on the trend of starting businesses that already exist and tears down the copycat mentality. He challenges the reader to focus on innovation.Thiel calls for a mind shift that looks to the future needs of the world. He explains the power and advantage that monopolies hold compared to companies that compete for market share. For those looking for the next big idea, this is the book to read.

If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of

technological stagnation, even if we're too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine. Tomorrow's champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today's marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

Is Peter Thiel the next robber baron?

28 June 2017 - Published on

In this chest-thumping book, author Peter Thiel comes off as a brilliant young man with a tendency toward exaggeration. Indeed, everything about him seems exaggerated: his businesses successes (founder of PayPal and Palantir), his net worth ($1.5 billion and counting), his educational credits (Stanford BA in philosophy, JD in law), his political views (avowedly libertarian), his energy level (off the charts), his self-confidence (not a doubt in sight), his vision for technology (human longevity, “seasteading” communities, eventual takeover by intelligent machines). Marty Neumeier on

Eight Things I Learned from Peter Thiel’s Zero To One

Peter Thiel is an entrepreneur and investor. He co-founded PayPal and Palantir. He also made the first outside investment in Facebook and was an early investor in companies like SpaceX and LinkedIn. And now he’s written a book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, with the goal of helping us “see beyond the tracks laid down” to the “broader future that there is to create.”

Zero To One is an exercise in thinking — about questioning and rethinking received wisdom to create the future. And thinking about thinking is what we’re all about.

Here are eight lessons I took away from the book.

1. Each Moment Happens Once

Like Heraclitus, who said that you can only step into the same river once, Thiel believes that each moment in business happens only once.

The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.

Of course, it’s easier to copy a model than to make something new. Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange.

2. There is no Formula

The paradox of teaching entrepreneurship is that such a formula (for innovation) cannot exist; because every innovation is new and unique, no authority can prescribe in concrete terms how to be more innovative. Indeed, the single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas.

3. The Best Interview Question

Whenever I interview someone for a job, I like to ask this question: “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”

This is a question that sounds easy because it’s straightforward. Actually, it’s very hard to answer. It’s intellectually difficult because the knowledge that everyone is taught in school is by definition agreed upon. And it’s psychologically difficult because anyone trying to answer must say something she knows to be unpopular. Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.

Most commonly, I hear answers like the following:

“Our educational system is broken and urgently needs to be fixed.”

“America is exceptional.”

“There is no God.”

These are bad answers. The first and the second statements might be true, but many people already agree with them. The third statement simply takes one side in a familiar debate. A good answer takes the following form: “Most people believe in x, but the truth is the opposite of x.”

What does this have to do with the future?

In the most minimal sense, the future is simply the set of all moments yet to come. But what makes the future distinctive and important isn’t that it hasn’t happened yet, but rather that it will be a time when the world looks different from today. … Most answers to the contrarian questions are different ways of seeing the present; good answers are as close as we can come to looking into the future.

4. A Company’s Most Important Strength

Properly defined, a startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future. A new company’s most important strength is new thinking: even more important than nimbleness, small size affords space to think.

“Madness is rare in individuals—but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.”

— Nietzche

5. The Contrarian Question

The question “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?” is hard to answer at first. It’s better to start with, “what does everybody agree on?”

If you can identify a delusional popular belief, you can find what lies hidden behind it: the contrarian truth.


Conventional beliefs only ever come to appear arbitrary and wrong in retrospect; whenever one collapses we call the old belief a bubble, but the distortions caused by bubbles don’t disappear when they pop. The internet bubble of the ‘90s was the biggest of the last two decades, and the lessons learned afterward define and distort almost all thinking about technology today. The first step to thinking clearly is to question what we think we know about the past.

Here is an example Thiel gives to help illuminate this idea.

The entrepreneurs who stuck with Silicon Valley learned four big lessons from the dot-com crash that still guide business thinking today:

1. Make incremental advances — “Grand visions inflated the bubble, so they should not be indulged. Anyone who claims to be able to do something great is suspect, and anyone who wants to change the world should be more humble. Small, incremental steps are the only safe path forward.”

2. Stay lean and flexible — “All companies must be lean, which is code for unplanned. You should not know what your business will do; planning is arrogant and inflexible. Instead you should try things out, iterate, and treat entrepreneurship as agnostic experimentation.”

3. Improve on the competition — “Don’t try to create a new market prematurely. The only way to know that you have a real business is to start with an already existing customer, so you should build your company by improving on recognizable products already offered by successful competitors.”

4. Focus on product, not sales — “If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it’s not good enough: technology is primarily about product development, not distribution. Bubble-era advertising was obviously wasteful, so the only sustainable growth is viral growth.”

These lessons have become dogma in the startup world; those who would ignore them are presumed to invite the justified doom visited upon technology in the great crash of 2000. And yet the opposite principles are probably more correct.

1. It is better to risk boldness than triviality.
2. A bad plan is better than no plan.
3. Competitive markets destroy profits.
4. Sales matters just as much as product.”

To build the future we need to challenge the dogmas that shape our view of the past. That doesn’t mean the opposite of what is believed is necessarily true, it means that you need to rethink what is and is not true and determine how that shapes how we see the world today. As Thiel says, “The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself.

6. Progress Comes From Monopoly, not Competition

The problem with a competitive business goes beyond lack of profits. Imagine you’re running one of those restaurants in Mountain View. You’re not that different from dozens of your competitors, so you’ve got to fight hard to survive. If you offer affordable food with low margins, you can probably pay employees only minimum wage. And you’ll need to squeeze out every efficiency: That is why small restaurants put Grandma to work at the register and make the kids wash dishes in the back.

A monopoly like Google is different. Since it doesn’t have to worry about competing with anyone, it has wider latitude to care about its workers, its products and its impact on the wider world. Google’s motto—”Don’t be evil”—is in part a branding ploy, but it is also characteristic of a kind of business that is successful enough to take ethics seriously without jeopardizing its own existence. In business, money is either an important thing or it is everything. Monopolists can afford to think about things other than making money; non-monopolists can’t. In perfect competition, a business is so focused on today’s margins that it can’t possibly plan for a long-term future. Only one thing can allow a business to transcend the daily brute struggle for survival: monopoly profits.

So a monopoly is good for everyone on the inside, but what about everyone on the outside? Do outsize profits come at the expense of the rest of society? Actually, yes: Profits come out of customers’ wallets, and monopolies deserve their bad reputation—but only in a world where nothing changes.

In a static world, a monopolist is just a rent collector. If you corner the market for something, you can jack up the price; others will have no choice but to buy from you. Think of the famous board game: Deeds are shuffled around from player to player, but the board never changes. There is no way to win by inventing a better kind of real-estate development. The relative values of the properties are fixed for all time, so all you can do is try to buy them up.

But the world we live in is dynamic: We can invent new and better things. Creative monopolists give customers more choices by adding entirely new categories of abundance to the world. Creative monopolies aren’t just good for the rest of society; they’re powerful engines for making it better.

7. Rivalry Causes us to Copy the Past

Marx and Shakespeare provide two models that we can use to understand almost every kind of conflict.

According to Marx, people fight because they are different. The proletariat fights the bourgeoisie because they have completely different ideas and goals (generated, for Marx, by their very different material circumstances). The greater the difference, the greater the conflict.

To Shakespeare, by contrast, all combatants look more or less alike. It’s not at all clear why they should be fighting since they have nothing to fight about. Consider the opening to Romeo and Juliet: “Two households, both alike in dignity.” The two houses are alike, yet they hate each other. They grow even more similar as the feud escalates. Eventually, they lose sight of why they started fighting in the first place.”

In the world of business, at least, Shakespeare proves the superior guide. Inside a firm, people become obsessed with their competitors for career advancement. Then the firms themselves become obsessed with their competitors in the marketplace. Amid all the human drama, people lose sight of what matters and focus on their rivals instead.


Rivalry causes us to overemphasize old opportunities and slavishly copy what has worked in the past.

8. Last can be First

You’ve probably heard about “first mover advantage”: if you’re the first entrant into a market, you can capture significant market share while competitors scramble to get started. That can work, but moving first is a tactic, not a goal. What really matters is generating cash flows in the future, so being the first mover doesn’t do you any good if someone else comes along and unseats you. It’s much better to be the last mover – that is, to make the last great development in a specific market and enjoy years or even decades of monopoly profits.

Chess Grand-master José Raúl Capablanca put it well: to succeed, “you must study the endgame before everything else.”

Zero to One is full of counter-intuitive insights that will help your thinking and ignite possibility.

If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.
The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.
Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.
Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.
Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

Grinding It Out: The Making Of McDonalds

Author: Ray Kroc

256 pages

published: 1992

Ray Kroc shares his secrets and drive to change the world in Grinding It Out. He explains how his life changed at the age of 52 when he got into the automation of the food industry. This innovation fast-tracked the explosive growth of McDonald's.

One of the best business biographies, this book will teach you about resilience and persistence. And Kroc is not shy about revealing the mistakes he has made in his personal life and business.

This book is not only motivational but also a call to action for those who have yet to make a mark in their field.

Grinding It Out.jpg

He either enchants or antagonizes everyone he meets. But even his enemies agree there are three things Ray Kroc does damned well: sell hamburgers, make money, and tell stories." --from Grinding It Out
Few entrepreneurs can claim to have radically changed the way we live, and Ray Kroc is one of them. His revolutions in food-service automation, franchising, shared national training, and advertising have earned him a place beside the men and women who have 

founded not only businesses, but entire empires. But even more interesting than Ray Kroc the business man is Ray Kroc the man. Not your typical self-made tycoon, Kroc was fifty-two years old when he opened his first franchise. In Grinding It Out, you'll meet the man behind McDonald's, one of the largest fast-food corporations in the world with over 32,000 stores around the globe.Irrepressible enthusiast, intuitive people person, and born storyteller, Kroc will fascinate and inspire you on every page.

Few entrepreneurs can claim to have actually changed the way we live, but Ray Kroc is one of them. His revolutions in food service automation, franchising, shared national training and advertising have earned him a place beside the men who founded not merely businesses but entire new industries.
But even more interesting than Ray Kroc the business legend is Ray Kroc the man. Not your typical self-made tycoon, Kroc was 52 when he met the McDonald brothers and opened his first franchise.
Now meet Ray Kroc, the man behind the business legend, in his own words. Irrepressible enthusiast, perceptive people-watcher, and born storyteller, he will fascinate and inspire you. You'll never forget Ray Kroc.

4.0 out of 5 stars Read after watching the movie

Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2017

Verified Purchase

After watching The Founder I had to read it. I did, I loved it and wished there was more but there isn't. Its a short book thats Ray Kroc's version of his life so its very sanitized. You see very little warts here.
In reality he jacked alot of people and supposedly made tons of enemies, much of it due to his alcoholism; but none of that is ever mentioned. Thats the bad part.
But the good is getting to peak into the mind of a bonafide visionary. A true business genius. If your interested in the mechanics of what makes you successful as a businessman you will really enjoy this book. I would have given it a 5 star if it just had a little more detail. Gets a little borong towards the end when he told his story and then had no gas left in the tank but all in all if you saw the movie you will really enjoy the book. JB Vick on

3.0 out of 5 stars The Movie Was Better

Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2020

Verified Purchase

Grinding It Out reminds me of those speeches actors give after they win an Oscar. You're hoping they say something inspiring but instead they just rattle off a list of names of people they want to thank. You can understand why they're doing it but it's not all that exciting. This book never really goes anywhere great, and it gets bogged down in technical subjects that just aren't that interesting - insurance, lawyers, McDonald's training facility, license fees, suppliers, real estate, etc. A full quarter of the book is about Kroc's careers prior to McDonald's which is quite boring.
The first chapter is by far the best, about when he met the McDonald's brothers in San Bernardino, California. It really gets you pumped to hear what you think will be a wonderful story. Unfortunately, it never really gets going again after that. It seems like he wants to give a pat on the back to every buddy he's ever had in the business. There are some good moments like when he talks about how the Filet-O-Fish or Big Mac was first conceived. But these are short anecdotes and most of the rest feels like fluff. He will wear you out with his self-congratulatory style never forgetting to tell you about how right he's always been. It gives you a strong feeling that Ray Kroc wasn't the greatest guy to be around. Honestly, if you are interested in the McDonald's story you should watch the film The Founder. If you are like me and watched the movie first, save yourself some time and skip this book.Mathew S on

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action

Author: Simon Sinek

256 pages

published: 2011

Start with Why.jpg

Start With Why, presented by Simon Sinek, is among the best leadership books to illustrate a new theory of success. Sinek compares successful people and ties them to a common motivation as the driver behind their excellent leadership.

Sinek argues the drive that steered leaders like Steve Jobs and the Wright brothers was not profit. It was their ability to answer the question, “Why?” He demonstrates how defining the underlying motivation can inspire an organization to achieve great heights.

Whether you want to inspire or be inspired, this book provides many stories and examples about great leaders and why they were so influential.

The inspiring, life-changing bestseller by the author of LEADERS EAT LAST and TOGETHER IS BETTER.
 In 2009, Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their 

colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 28 million who’ve watched his TED Talk based on START WITH WHY -- the third most popular TED video of all time.Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won't truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it. START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

Start with Why is one of the most useful and powerful books I have read in years. Simple and elegant, it shows us how leaders should lead.”
-WILLIAM URY, coauthor of Getting to Yes
“Start with Why fanned the flames inside me. This book can lead you to levels of excellence you never considered attainable.”
-GENERAL CHUCK HORNER, air boss, Desert Storm
“Each story will force you to see things from an entirely different perspective. A perspective that is nothing short of the truth.”
-MOKHTAR LAMANI, former ambassador, special envoy to Iraq

 See the TED talk; save the money

Reviewed in the United States on March 22, 2017

The author's TED talk is one of the most-viewed ever; and it's really quite good. In fact, it's so good that you don't need to read this book! He takes a very, very simple concept and expands, and expands, and repeats, and seemingly never edits, and then repeats, and expands, and -- well, you get the idea. The whole thing could've been done in 50 pages or less.
Example: Yes, there's a difference between WHAT one does in business and WHY one does it. And sometimes they diverge. He calls this the "Split" and has a graphic and whole chapter on it. Really?? Not needed.
Example: He mines the stories of Apple, Wal-Mart, Costco, Starbucks, Martin Luther King Jr, and a few others - over & over & over & over & over again. He makes elementary and generalized statements, such as saying that NONE of the 250,000 people who came to hear Dr. King in Washington came for him; no sir, they came for themselves because their "why" connected with his "why." Uh, no; many came for him and his message or to simply support civil rights.
Example: He constantly repeats the words WHY and WHAT in CAPS ALL THE TIME so you'd get the message. And then again....and again.....
Example: Yes, the Apple Computer story is inspiring. But among all that WHY stuff is also the story of a dreamer with incredibly bad people skills. To simply elevate the Apple story - and retell it umpteen times - is to vastly oversimplify what made them great back then and now, and why they succeeded in spite of the way Jobs treated his employees.
It's almost as if the author had about 10 stories in his pocket and decided to use nothing else at all. He created the entire "start with WHY" mantra out of the 10 stories and never went beyond them to augment, embellish, or create more learnings.
So save the money, see the TED talk, and take what he says there to heart. WHY is the basis for being motivated. But there's a whole lot more to say, and sadly, he never gets to it.David Platkin on

Over 3 million copies sold!

The Possible Dream: A Candid Look at Amway

Author: Charles Paul Conn

174 pages

published: 1977

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This book tells the personal story of Rich Devos and Jay Van Andel and the growth of Amway. The book oscillates between first-hand stories from successful Amway representatives to accounts of outsiders who give their view of Amway.

The Possible Dream reveals the inner workings of the company along with details of the 30 years of effort from Amway’s founders that contributed to its success. For anyone with an ambitious dream that seems impossible, this book will give you the inspiration and motivation that you

Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel had a dream big enough to embrace everyone seeking to change their lives and willing to work to do it. Make it happen, they challenged. Build your future within the framework of Amway. And thousands have, spurred on by freedom from a time clock and, of course, money. Inside is the warm and personal story behind the explosive growth of Amway.

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Amway history book

Reviewed in the United States on 7 September 2013

Great view of the men who started the company, the company itself, and many people who were successful following the model. Quite full of integrity.Read & Learn on amazon.vom

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read

14 June 2000 - Published on

I really never liked Amway. Of course, I never really knew anything specific about Amway or the founders of that organization...until I started reading about them in business journals and the Dunn and Bradstreet report of stability. The business community greatly respects the founders of Amway. They give away millions every year to charities. They help their community and society in general. The best thing is, this book is designed to show you what they did to get to where they are.
This title presents an overview of the philosophy of the founders of one of the largest privately owned companies in the US and the world. They are successful people who explain how one might be a success as well.
I've also noticed that most of the negative reviews for this title do not address the content of this title. Whereas, those who enjoyed it comment on the content. Interesting, wouldn't you say?
The book is written clearly while maintaining the focus on encouragement and reaching one's goals.
Good read even if you aren't saving money with Amway. They have a sister company called Quixtar. Very similar philosophy and quality products. Quixtar was founded in 1999 and is also privately owned. This philosophy works.  Ethan on

5.0 out of 5 stars Amway: A vehicle to accomplish all your dreams

Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 1998

The Possible Dream gives readers indepth and unbiased information about what you're really doing when you're part of the Amway team, and how this superb business opportunity can help you acheive your goals. A must-read for anyone who's had it with their finances, or lack of.        zforce@epix.netn on

Elon Musk:Tesla, Space X And The Quest For A Fantastic Future

Author: Ashlee Vance

400 pages

published: 2015

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Ashlee Vance takes on the life of multi-billionaire Elon Musk and how he created technological innovations with the power to change the world. This biography details the journey to success that Musk begins as a teenager.

Throughout the story, you’ll see the strategies Musk uses to bring his ideas to life. As he takes big risks to reap the rewards of success, you’ll see what it takes to create a legacy and change the future. Beyond risk-taking, Musk’s story demonstrates the power of consistency and patience despite numerous failures.

In the spirit of Steve Jobs and Moneyball, Elon Musk is both an illuminating and authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley's most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs--a real-life Tony Stark--and a fascinating exploration of the renewal of American invention and its new "makers."Elon Musk spotlights the technology and vision of Elon 

I'm a paragraphMusk, the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, who sold one of his Internet companies, PayPal, for $1.5 billion. Ashlee Vance captures the full spectacle and arc of the genius's life and work, from his tumultuous upbringing in South Africa and flight to the United States to his dramatic technical innovations and entrepreneurial pursuits.Vance uses Musk's story to explore one of the pressing questions of our age: can the nation of inventors and creators who led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk--one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history--is a contemporary, visionary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.Thorough and insightful, Elon Musk brings to life a technology industry that is rapidly and dramatically changing by examining the life of one of its most powerful and influential titans. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thorough insight into Elon Musk's life and companies

9 June 2015 - Published on

When I walked into Barnes & Noble two weeks ago, I wasn't actually looking to purchase a book. Usually, I go in, browse for 30 minutes, and get out. But when I walked around to the Physics and Science section, the first thing I saw was Elon Musk's face.
Inevitably, I picked it up and began reading.
2 pages in, I decided I was in this for the long haul and sat on the floor, right there in the middle of the store. 15 pages in, my friends finally found me and forced me to leave. But I couldn't part with this. I needed this book. Those first 15 pages captured me like so few books do (in fact, only one book in the past year has totally stolen my attention like this).
So I bought Elon Musk feeling on top of the world and excited to keep reading.
I travel a lot between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, PA, so, since I'm in the middle of taking classes in Pittsburgh, I swore to only read this book on the bus, because I knew once I picked it up again, I wouldn't put down.
I was right.
The next day, I got on the bus, got to reading, and tuned out the world. Three hours later, I was nearly halfway through -- and WOW. Vance's writing style flowed right through my mind. No clunky sentences, no jarring phrases. It's such an easy book to read, despite the complex nature of the contents.
Elon Musk, if you don't know, is a biography. Yes, a biography. You'd expect the case-study of someone's life to be boring and uneventful, dragging until the very end.
This wasn't the case at all.
Vance opens the book at an interview with Elon Musk himself. The first line, a quote from Musk, "Do you think I'm insane?", perfectly captures the whole context of the biography. Because as you experience the story, as you see the challenges Musk went through to reach the pinnacle he's at today, the question nags at you. Musk isn't soft-spoken, or easy on his employees, or a man who kicks his legs up on his desk and snoozes while his companies mill around him. Vance shows how Musk is both the CEO and an employee of his companies, simultaneously the teacher and student. He gets in the work, asks all the right questions, gives all the right orders. His vision is THE vision, and if you get in the way, Musk has been known to fire you on the spot.
Musk breaks every convention, every tradition, every standard. Vance takes you deep into the details, from Musk's childhood and lineage in South Africa, all the way to Canada and the United States, where the bulk of the story unfolds.
When Musk looks at big businesses, he sees unmovable behemoths that refuse to change their methodologies. American innovation became a thing of the past. Technology and industry was growing - but nowhere near as fast as it should. So we follow Musk's journey from his small start-ups, Zip2 and, and move into his larger, more permanent ventures, namely SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity.
I myself am a huge fan of Elon Musk. Still, until the past year or two, I only thought of him as "that guy who made SpaceX" and "that guy who runs Tesla." Until reading this book, I never knew the struggle -- no, the hell he went through to make and keep these companies. You think, oh, he just has a lot of money.
Yeah, now he does. But did you know SpaceX and Tesla were hours away from going bankrupt? Did you know that the Falcon 1 rocket kept failing, and one more failed launch literally meant the end of SpaceX? Did you know SpaceX tested these rockets on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and would fix problems they encountered in a matter of days, as compared to months by standard companies?
This book is the first time Musk has explicitly let anyone interview him for a biography. Aside from a few questionable quotes that have been publicly denounced by Musk after the publication of this book, we're still given a tremendous amount of insight into his head and how he runs the companies. Vance interviewed more than 300 people and spent over two years compiling this account. And I have to give credit to how up-to-date the information is. There are several events Vance mentions that occurred into 2015, such as the first landing attempt of Falcon 9 on the sea barge, which took place in January, and he refers to the second attempt as being in a couple weeks, which means that Vance included this information on a very tight deadline, probably mid-March (the second landing attempt happened on April 14, 2015).
I want to congratulate you, Mr. Vance. Well done. Very well done. I'm going to reread this book in a few weeks (probably after the scheduled June 19th third Falcon 9 landing attempt, this time on solid ground, as opposed to a barge). Anyone who wants a ridiculously thorough insight into Elon Musk's life and companies should read this book. It had me from Page 1 all the way to Page 363, and even the appendices that come after.
This is an incredibly inspiring book, a important look into a game-changing business strategy, and a valuable lesson to the world. As Musk says, "If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it."

Read less.  S. Alex Martin on

Like A Virgin:

Secrets They Won't Teach You At Business School

Author: Sir Richard Branson

384 pages

published: 2013

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Renowned entrepreneur Richard Branson shares the secrets that led to the success of the Virgin brand in this excellent autobiography. Branson candidly shares the lessons he learned as he started and grew his business to the level it is today.

The book is written in a question and answer format, making it easy to follow and pick up lessons as you go. It distills Branson’s wisdom, experience, and opinions on business into something relevant and useful for any entrepreneur.

edit me. It's easy.

Looking for advice on setting up your own company, improving your career prospects, or developing your leadership skills? Why not ask Richard Branson?

In Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You in Business School, Richard distils and shares the wisdom and experience that have made him one of the world's most recognised and respected entrepreneurs. From his 'Top 5 secrets of 

Business Success', to hard hitting discussions about the global financial crisis, this book brings together his best advice on all things business.It's business school, the Branson way.

Richard. Stop that!

7 October 2012 - Published on

Who says a business book can't be entertaining? Whether you are an entrepreneur trying to get your business off the ground, an executive in a business that needs a boost or a worker bee looking to make work more fun, this book is for you.
Richard Branson is the Leonardo da Vinci of business. His unquenchable curiosity combined with contagious extroversion is the alchemy behind the 400+ successful businesses he has created. This book, consisting of 76 short essays and articles, documents the lessons he has learned. Numerous examples, most drawn from real-life experiences with people at his Virgin Group companies, are a roadmap for others in business to turbocharge their own success.
Branson's "Like a Virgin" reveals just what a huge gap exists in modern business school curriculum. Do they teach these things like this?  Alan Lattanner on

Whether you’re interested in starting your own business, improving your leadership skills, or simply looking for inspiration from one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time, Richard Branson has the answers.

Like a Virgin brings together some of his best advice, distilling the experiences and insights that have made him one of the world’s most recognized and respected business leaders.

In his trademark thoughtful and encouraging voice, Branson shares his knowledge like a close friend. He’ll teach you how to be more innovative, how to lead by listening, how to enjoy your work, and much more.

In hindsight, Branson is thankful he never went to business school. Had he conformed to the conventional dos and don’ts of starting a business, would there have been a Virgin Records? A Virgin Atlantic? So many of Branson’s achievements are due to his unyielding deter­mination to break the rules and rewrite them himself. Here’s how he does it.

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Titan: The Life Of John D. Rockefeller, Sr

Author: Ron Chernow

832 pages

Published: 1998

From the acclaimed, award-winning author of Alexander Hamilton: here is the essential, endlessly engrossing biography of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.—the 


This book about the life of John D Rockefeller Sr. offers deep insight into the life, family, and career of an American icon. Ron Chernow looks at how Rockefeller rose from humble beginnings to create massive wealth and the unconventional methods he used to build an oil empire.The book goes deep into Rockefeller’s extensive philanthropy, while also discussing the corruption and controversy that plagued his business and personal life. Filled with brilliant and hilarious quotes from Rockefeller and those who knew him, this book goes far beyond business methods. It touches on management, religion, philosophy, and art, to provide a well-rounded understanding of an important historical figure.

.Jekyll-and-Hyde of American capitalism. In the course of his nearly 98 years, Rockefeller was known as both a rapacious robber baron, whose Standard Oil Company rode roughshod over an industry, and a philanthropist who donated money lavishly to universities and medical centers. He was the terror of his competitors, the bogeyman of reformers, the delight of caricaturists—and an utter enigma Drawing on unprecedented access to Rockefeller’s private papers, Chernow reconstructs his subjects’ troubled origins (his father was a swindler and a bigamist) and his single-minded pursuit of wealth. But he also uncovers the profound religiosity that drove him “to give all I could”; his devotion to his father; and the wry sense of humor that made him the country’s most colorful codger. Titan is a magnificent biography—balanced, revelatory, elegantly

A biography that has many of the best attributes of a novel. . . . Wonderfully fluent and compelling.” The New York Times
“A triumph of the art of biography. Unflaggingly interesting, it brings John D. Rockefeller Sr. to life through sustained narrative portraiture of the large-scale, nineteenth-century kind.”The New York Times Book Review

A biography that has many of the best attributes of a novel. . . . Wonderfully fluent and compelling.” —The New York Times
A triumph of the art of biography. Unflaggingly interesting, it brings John D. Rockefeller Sr. to life through sustained narrative portraiture of the large-scale, nineteenth-century kind.” The New York Times Book Review
“Important and impressive. . . . Reveals the man behind both the mask and the myth.”The Wall Street Journal
One of the great American biographies. . . . [Chernow] writes with rich impartiality. He turns the machinations of Standard Oil . . . into fascinating social history.”Time

1.0 out of 5 stars The man has great talent and an obvious intellect

Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2018

Let me begin with the fact that Chernow's composition and writing style are outstanding. The man has great talent and an obvious intellect.
The book begins with a bang and builds to a crescendo- at first. The development of Rockefeller's origins, early life and ascendancy to the worlds richest man, and the captain of American Industry is breathtaking. The detail about his massive and discrete giving are awe inspiring. I couldn't put the book down and burned through the first 300 pages in a few days. Then it happened: Chernow's hatred of Rockefeller's Evangelical Christian world view became too much for him to bear and the book sags into leftist drivel and sanctimony by page +/- 325. It just gets worse from there. It becomes pretentious, and snippy- slouching toward all out hatred for Rockefeller's success springing from the Christian doctrines of self denial, industry, thrift and generosity.
While Chernow treats Rockefeller's Bible Based World View with fairness and thoroughness in the beginning, and attributes Rockefeller's genuineness and success to Rockefeller's Christian convictions, the envy and contempt of the author bleeds through and stains the rest of the book.The reader is treated to constant haranguing and insults directed toward Christianity generally, and Rockefeller's practition thereof specifically.
Rockefeller's life was nothing short of overwhelming. His candor, authenticity, tireless commitment to Abolition, Education, and Temperance all bubble from the wellspring of his Christian convictions. His detractors such as Ida Tarbell and other angry socialists do as much to burnish Rockefeller's reputation as his own good works.
I was taught as a youth to "hate" the "Robber Barrons" (another totally fake Identifier of the original American builder/makers) and dismiss Rockefeller as an evil greedy man. I was lied to! I have a new and great admiration for this authentic and invaluable American hero- thanks to Chernow's book, and my trained critical thinker's discipline to consider the motive of all editorials.vessie on

Over 1 million Ebook downloads!

Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys To Creativity

Author: Hugh MacLeod

176 pages


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This book is a call for ingenuity and originality. Hugh MacLeod offers the lessons he learned over his career as a writer and cartoonist and breaking through as a result of not following the crowd.MacLeod’s keys to creativity include wisdom on everything from marketing, finding inspiration, and cultivating work ethic as a creative person. He argues that pursuing your ideas, however weird or unpopular, is a far better recipe for success and happiness than conforming.

When Hugh MacLeod was a struggling young copywriter, living in a YMCA, he started to doodle on the backs of 

The writer behind the popular blog GapingVoid, and the e-book that has been downloaded over a million times, How To Be Creative, delivers edgy and humorous advice on maximizing creativity in a world that often thwarts it.

business cards while sitting at a bar. Those cartoons eventually led to a popular blog – – and a reputation for pithy insight and humor, in both words and pictures.MacLeod has opinions on everything from marketing to the meaning of life, but one of his main subjects is creativity. How do new ideas emerge in a cynical, risk-averse world? Where does inspiration come from? What does it take to make a living as a creative person?Now his first book, Ignore Everyone, expands on his sharpest insights, wittiest cartoons, and most useful advice. A sample:* Selling out is harder than it looks. Diluting your product to make it more commercial will just make people like it less.* If your plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail. Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain.* Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether. There’s no point trying to do the same thing as 250,000 other young hopefuls, waiting for a miracle. All existing business models are wrong. Find a new one.* The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours. The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will.After learning MacLeod’s 40 keys to creativity, you will be ready to unlock your own brilliance and unleash it on the world. Amazon Book Description

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Without Their Permission: How The 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed

Author: Alexis Ohanian

272 pages

published: 2013

Without Their Permission.jpg

Co-founder of one of the world’s most popular online communities, Reddit, Alexis Ohanian has a lot to say about the power of information and community. Further, he has much wisdom in launching and operating tech startups.

Ohanian shares his life story in this engaging and inspiring read, of creating Reddit in his dorm room, cashing out for millions, and going on to start many more successful ventures. This book will convince young entrepreneurs that the era of being meek, following the rules, and asking permission is over.

As Alexis Ohanian learned when he helped to co-found the immensely popular, the internet is the most powerful and democratic tool for disseminating information in human history. And when that power is harnessed to create new communities, technologies,businesses or charities, the results can be absolutely stunning.In this book, Alexis will share

his ideas, tips and even his own doodles about harnessing the power of the web for good, and along the way, he will share his philosophy with young entrepreneurs all over the globe.At 29, Ohanian has come to personify the dorm-room tech entrepreneur, changing the world without asking permission. Within a couple of years of graduating from the University of Virginia, Ohanian did just that, selling reddit for millions of dollars. He's gone on to start many other companies, like hipmunk and breadpig, all while representing Y Combinator and investing in over sixty other tech startups. Without Their Permission is his personal guidebook as to how other aspiring entrepreneurs can follow in his footsteps.

As Alexis Ohanian learned when he helped to co-found the immensely popular, the internet is the most powerful and democratic tool for disseminating information in human history. And when that power is harnessed to create new communities, technologies, businesses or charities, the results can be absolutely stunning.
In this book, Alexis will share his ideas, tips and even his own doodles about harnessing the power of the web for good, and along the way, he will share his philosophy with young entrepreneurs all over the globe.
At 29, Ohanian has come to personify the dorm-room tech entrepreneur, changing the world without asking permission. Within a couple of years of graduating from the University of Virginia, Ohanian did just that, selling reddit for millions of dollars. He's gone on to start many other companies, like hipmunk and breadpig, all while representing Y Combinator and investing in over sixty other tech startups. Without Their Permission is his personal guidebook as to how other aspiring entrepreneurs can follow in his footsteps.

As a student at the University of Baltimore currently enrolled in end entrepreneur course, I was assigned to this book and I must say that this was massively informative as it was interesting. I enjoyed the personal insight if Alexis Ohanian's journey as an aspiring entrepreneur all the way to becoming the successful co-founder of a largely know Reddit. I also like the business tips shared by Alexis Ohanian as an aspiring entrepreneur myself. I really appreciated Ohanian's theory and tip of having innovative ideas but having those ideas to adapt to people’s wants otherwise it won’t be successful and to stick with an entrepreneurial idea that will gain traction in which I’m hoping the latter theory happens for me through my startup and future business. This book is useful to other entrepreneur students as this book gives you a primary source from a successful entrepreneur. Not only does he shares the evolution of his journey as a pre-Reddit entrepreneur but also share theories of what it takes to put your product to on the possible road of success. One of those theories of having a successful product and/or service is that one can have a "great" idea but will not always be reciprocated through customer use if it is not adapted to the wants and needs of customers. Case in point is that our ideas as budding or current entrepreneurs may need to be tinkered, modified and adaptive in order to gain the success that we desire. There is a common theory amongst people that is if one has a dream than they should go all out with that dream and Alex Ohanian was and presently is a testament to this theory as he became a co-founder of the popular Reddit. Never giving up on his true dream paid off for him and I strongly hope that the startup will be a small piece to beginning of my success as an aspiring books

4.0 out of 5 stars Figure out what you think should "suck less" and make it happen; it really is up to you

Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2016

I am not sure what took me so long to read this but I'm glad I finally did. I bought it and a month later scored a free copy, and here I am saying I definitely would buy it again. Whether you're thinking of starting your own company or looking for inspiration on how to take more initiative on a project or life mission, this book reminds you that in today's world, it really is up to one person: you. Alexis Ohanian recounts his experiences with reddit, Paul Graham & YC, Breadpig, SOPA/PIPA, hipmunk and more, and he demonstrates how no one commissioned him to do anything - he and his friend/cofounder just went ahead and built things they believed needed to exist (being flexible and pivoting when necessary).
If you're looking for a step-by-step guide on what to do to start the next major reddit or Facebook, you won't get that here. But I think that's intentional; you don't need explicit directions, just decide on a problem that you want to solve, and get to work. Personally a timely read for me, but really enjoyed the insight he shared along the way, and the argument he makes for keeping the internet free, open, and accessible to all (pointing out that today, while many of us take it for granted, it certainly is not).
I think it's a good read for anyone participating or interested in the "tech/startup life" - add it to your listJeneta H on

4.0 out of 5 stars This book will give a good insight for any aspiring entrepreneur in our context of ...

Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2017

Alexis Ohanian, 'mayor of the internet' and co-founder of Reddit, shares his life story so far and his insight into what makes a successful startup and his vision for the future fertility of tech innovation for humanity. This book will give a good insight for any aspiring entrepreneur in our context of click-bait culture. As an undergrad student at University of VA, Ohanian learned the value of actively participating in class and life. One day while sitting in a waffle house, he was struck by the notion that he should abandon the more rooted and conventional path of law and instead set sail on the seas of entrepreneurship. He and his friend Steve pitched and failed, then pitched again and succeeded big with Reddit. Ohanian goes on to share his wisdom gained over the following years creating and investing in over 60 startups through his work with Ycombinator. He gives essentials of modern entrepreneurship theory such as how to focus more on solving major problems for potential customers, with the added advice that in this culture of overlapping tech, there is plenty of opportunity to solve major problems that your customers don't even know they have. Ohanian expresses this enthusiasm for presentation, execution, and proper collaboration with genuine passion. I feel "Without Their Permission" is an important read to understand what's driving value and innovation in our world, yet if it was a novel, I would be a bit disappointed with the hero character. As the title suggests, there is a rebellious element to the story. Ohanian goes to battle against the corrupt and entrenched interests that are stifling growth and innovation when he works to rally the citizens of the free internet to fight legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act and PIPA. His political-philosophic reflections in some ways remind me of other free-market rhetoric. His identity as a child of the nineties is evident and I can relate. I grew up in the same town as Ohanian around the same time with a similar passion for computers, networks, and the potential future we were all looking forward to. He mentions at one point the importance of timing for turning a good idea into a good opportunity and his character as "mayor of the internet" and hero of this story is missing a big opportunity in making the innovations' value more sustainable. However, this book is not a novel, though it is an illuminating, worthwhile, and enjoyable read.  ryan sansing on

Deep Work: Rules For Focussed Success

In A Distracted World

Autor: Cal Newport

304 pages

published: 2016

Deep Work.jpg

Deep Work gives new insight into how people produce their best work. The author asserts that many people work at the shallow end of focus, with social media and cultural changes to blame. Because of our distracting environment, it is nearly impossible to concentrate on anything.Deep Work helps people rediscover a deep state of focus and concentrate on things that matter. The book will inspire you to eliminate unnecessary distractions and work smarter

One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you'll achieve extraordinary results.Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment 

that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way.

In DEEP WORK, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four "rules," for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.

A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, DEEP WORK takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories -- from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air -- and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. DEEP WORK is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

more than 15 million copies sold

HowTo Win Friends And Influence People

Author: Fale Carnegie

288 pages

published 1998

How To Win Friendd.jpg

One of the fundamental keys to business and sales is the ability to network and build relationships. This bestselling business book promises to instill the communication and persuasion skills it takes to succeed.Instrumental to people who are socially awkward, this book offers tips on developing listening skills and starting conversations. But ultimately, the book is aimed at helping business people succeed in sales. That's why this self-help classic also has a place on the shelf of must-read business books. Although originally published in 1936, much of the advice in this book is

You can go after the job you want—and get it!

You can take the job you have—and improve it!

You can take any situation—and make it work for you!

Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless

bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People will teach you:

-Six ways to make people like you

-Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking

-Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment

And much more! Achieve your maxi!!mum potential—a must-read for the twenty-first century with more than 15 million copies sold!

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1
"If You Want to Gather Honey, Don't Kick Over the Beehive"

If You Want to Gather Honey, Don't Kick Over the Beehive"
On May 7, 1931, the most sensational manhunt New York City had ever known had come to its climax. After weeks of search, "Two Gun" Crowley -- the killer, the gunman who didn't smoke or drink -- was at bay, trapped in his sweetheart's apartment on West End Avenue.
One hundred and fifty policemen and detectives laid siege to his top-floor hideaway. They chopped holes in the roof; they tried to smoke out Crowley, the "cop killer," with tear gas. Then they mounted their machine guns on surrounding buildings, and for more than an hour one of New York's fine residential areas reverberated with the crack of pistol fire and the rat-tat-tat of machine guns. Crowley, crouching behind an overstuffed chair, fired incessantly at the police. Ten thousand excited people watched the battle. Nothing like it had ever been seen before on the sidewalks of New York.
When Crowley was captured, Police Commissioner E. P. Mulrooney declared that the two-gun desperado was one of the most dangerous criminals ever encountered in the history of New York. "He will kill," said the Commissioner, "at the drop of a feather."
But how did "Two Gun" Crowley regard himself? We know, because while the police were firing into his apartment, he wrote a letter addressed "To whom it may concern." And, as he wrote, the blood flowing from his wounds left a crimson trail on the paper. In his letter Crowley said: "Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one -- one that would do nobody any harm."
A short time before this, Crowley had been having a necking party with his girl friend on a country road out on Long Island. Suddenly a policeman walked up to the car and said: "Let me see your license."
Without saying a word, Crowley drew his gun and cut the policeman down with a shower of lead. As the dying officer fell, Crowley leaped out of the car, grabbed the officer's revolver, and fired another bullet into the prostrate body. And that was the killer who said: "Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one -- one that would do nobody any harm."
Crowley was sentenced to the electric chair. When he arrived at the death house in Sing Sing, did he say, "This is what I get for killing people"? No, he said: "This is what I get for defending myself."
The point of the story is this: "Two Gun" Crowley didn't blame himself for anything.
Is that an unusual attitude among criminals? If you think so, listen to this:
"I have spent the best years of my life giving people the lighter pleasures, helping them have a good time, and all I get is abuse, the existence of a hunted man."
That's Al Capone speaking. Yes, America's most notorious Public Enemy -- the most sinister gang leader who ever shot up Chicago. Capone didn't condemn himself. He actually regarded himself as a public benefactor -- an unappreciated and misunderstood public benefactor.
And so did Dutch Schultz before he crumpled up under gangster bullets in Newark. Dutch Schultz, one of New York's most notorious rats, said in a newspaper interview that he was a public benefactor. And he believed it.
I have had some interesting correspondence with Lewis Lawes, who was warden of New York's infamous Sing Sing prison for many years, on this subject, and he declared that "few of the criminals in Sing Sing regard themselves as bad men. They are just as human as you and I. So they rationalize, they explain. They can tell you why they had to crack a safe or be quick on the trigger finger. Most of them attempt by a form of reasoning, fallacious or logical, to justify their antisocial acts even to themselves, consequently stoutly maintaining that they should never have been imprisoned at all."
If Al Capone, "Two Gun" Crowley, Dutch Schultz, and the desperate men and women behind prison walls don't blame themselves for anything -- what about the people with whom you and I come in contact?
John Wanamaker, founder of the stores that bear his name, once confessed: "I learned thirty years ago that it is foolish to scold. I have enough trouble overcoming my own limitations without fretting over the fact that God has not seen fit to distribute evenly the gift of intelligence."
Wanamaker learned this lesson early, but I personally had to blunder through this old world for a third of a century before it even began to dawn upon me that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, people don't criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may be.
Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person's precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.
B. F. Skinner, the world-famous psychologist, proved through his experiments that an animal rewarded for good behavior will learn much more rapidly and retain what it learns far more effectively than an animal punished for bad behavior. Later studies have shown that the same applies to humans. By criticizing, we do not make lasting changes and often incur resentment.
Hans Selye, another great psychologist, said, "As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation."
The resentment that criticism engenders can demoralize employees, family members and friends, and still not correct the situation that has been condemned.
George B. Johnston of Enid, Oklahoma, is the safety coordinator for an engineering company. One of his responsibilities is to see that employees wear their hard hats whenever they are on the job in the field. He reported that whenever he came across workers who were not wearing hard hats, he would tell them with a lot of authority of the regulation and that they must comply. As a result he would get sullen acceptance, and often after he left, the workers would remove the hats.
He decided to try a different approach. The next time he found some of the workers not wearing their hard hat, he asked if the hats were uncomfortable or did not fit properly. Then he reminded the men in a pleasant tone of voice that the hat was designed to protect them from injury and suggested that it always be worn on the job. The result was increased compliance with the regulation with no resentment or emotional upset.
You will find examples of the futility of criticism bristling on a thousand pages of history. Take, for example, the famous quarrel between Theodore Roosevelt and President Taft -- a quarrel that split the Republican party, put Woodrow Wilson in the White House, and wrote bold, luminous lines across the First World War and altered the flow of history. Let's review the facts quickly. When Theodore Roosevelt stepped out of the White House in 1908, he supported Taft, who was elected President. Then Theodore Roosevelt went off to Africa to shoot lions. When he returned, he exploded. He denounced Taft for his conservatism, tried to secure the nomination for a third term himself, formed the Bull Moose party, and all but demolished the G.O.P. In the election that followed, William Howard Taft and the Republican party carried only two states -- Vermont and Utah. The most disastrous defeat the party had ever known.
Theodore Roosevelt blamed Taft, but did President Taft blame himself? Of course not. With tears in his eyes, Taft said: "I don't see how I could have done any differently from what I have."
Who was to blame? Roosevelt or Taft? Frankly, I don't know, and I don't care. The point I am trying to make is that all of Theodore Roosevelt's criticism didn't persuade Taft that he was wrong. It merely made Taft strive to justify himself and to reiterate with tears in his eyes: "I don't see how I could have done any differently from what I have."
Or, take the Teapot Dome oil scandal. It kept the newspapers ringing with indignation in the early 1920s. It rocked the nation! Within the memory of living men, nothing like it had ever happened before in American public life. Here are the bare facts of the scandal: Albert B. Fall, secretary of the interior in Harding's cabinet, was entrusted with the leasing of government oil reserves at Elk Hill and Teapot Dome -- oil reserves that had been set aside for the future use of the Navy. Did Secretary Fall permit competitive bidding? No sir, He handed the fat, juicy contract outright to his friend Edward L. Doheny. And what did Doheny do? He gave Secretary Fall what he was pleased to call a "loan" of one hundred thousand dollars. Then, in a high-handed manner, Secretary Fall ordered United States Marines into the district to drive off competitors whose adjacent wells were sapping oil out of the Elk Hill reserves. These competitors, driven off their ground at the ends of guns and bayonets, rushed into court -- and blew the lid off the Teapot Dome scandal. A stench arose so vile that it ruined the Harding Administration, nauseated an entire nation, threatened to wreck the Republican party, and put Albert B. Fall behind prison bars.
Fall was condemned viciously -- condemned as few men in public life have ever been. Did he repent? Never! Years later Herbert Hoover intimated in a public speech that President Harding's death had been due to mental anxiety and worry because a friend had betrayed him. When Mrs. Fall heard that, she sprang from her chair, she wept, she shook her fists at fate and screamed: "What! Harding betrayed by Fall? No! My husband never betrayed anyone. This whole house full of gold would not tempt my husband to do wrong. He is the one who has been betrayed and led to the slaughter and crucified."
There you are; human nature in action, wrongdoers, blaming everybody but themselves. We are all like that. So when you and I are tempted to criticize someone tomorrow, let's remember Al Capone, "Two Gun" Crowley and Albert Fall. Let's realize that criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home. Let's realize that the person we are going to correct and condemn will probably justify himself or herself, and condemn us in return; or, like the gentle Taft, will say: "I don't see how I could have done any differently from what I have."
On the morning of April 15, 1865, Abraham Lincoln lay dying in a hall bedroom of a cheap lodging house directly across the street from Ford's Theater, where John Wilkes Booth had shot him. Lincoln's long body lay stretched diagonally across a sagging bed that was too short for him. A cheap reproduction of Rosa Bonheur's famous painting The Horse Fair hung above the bed, and a dismal gas jet flickered yellow light.
As Lincoln lay dying, Secretary of War Stanton said, "There lies the most perfect ruler of men that the world has ever seen."
What was the secret of Lincoln's success in dealing with people? I studied the life of Abraham Lincoln for ten years and devoted all of three years to writing and rewriting a book entitled Lincoln the Unknown. I believe I have made as detailed and exhaustive a study of Lincoln's personality and home life as it is possible for any being to make. I made a special study of Lincoln's method of dealing with people. Did he indulge in criticism? Oh, yes. As a young man in the Pigeon Creek Valley of Indiana, he not only criticized but he wrote letters and poems ridiculing people and dropped these letters on the country roads where they were sure to be found. One of these letters aroused resentments that burned for a lifetime.
Even after Lincoln had become a practicing lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, he attacked his opponents openly in letters published in the newspapers. But he did this just once too often.
In the autumn of 1842 he ridiculed a vain, pugnacious politician by the name of James Shields. Lincoln lampooned him through an anonymous letter published in the Springfield Journal. The town roared with laughter. Shields, sensitive and proud, boiled with indignation. He found out who wrote the letter, leaped on his horse, started after Lincoln, and challenged him to fight a duel. Lincoln didn't want to fight. He was opposed to dueling, but he couldn't get out of it and save his honor. He was given the choice of weapons. Since he had very long arms, he chose cavalry broadswords and took lessons in sword fighting from a West Point graduate; and, on the appointed day, he and Shields met on a sandbar in the Mississippi River, prepared to fight to the death; but, at the last minute, their seconds interrupted and stopped the duel.
That was the most lurid personal incident in Lincoln's life. It taught him an invaluable lesson in the art of dealing with people. Never again did he write an insulting letter. Never again did he ridicule anyone. And from that time on, he almost never criticized anybody for anything.
Time after time, during the Civil War, Lincoln put a new general at the head of the Army of the Potomac, and each one in turn -- McClellan, Pope, Burnside, Hooker, Meade -- blundered tragically and drove Lincoln to pacing the floor in despair. Half the nation savagely condemned these incompetent generals, but Lincoln, "with malice toward none, with charity for all," held his peace. One of his favorite quotations was "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
And when Mrs. Lincoln and others spoke harshly of the southern people, Lincoln replied: "Don't criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances."
Yet if any man ever had occasion to criticize, surely it was Lincoln. Let's take just one illustration:
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought during the first three days of July 1863. During the night of July 4, Lee began to retreat southward while storm clouds deluged the country with rain. When Lee reached the Potomac with his defeated army, he found a swollen, impassable river in front of him, and a victorious Union Army behind him. Lee was in a trap. He couldn't escape. Lincoln saw that. Here was a golden, heaven-sent opportunity -- the opportunity to capture Lee's army and end the war immediately. So, with a surge of high hope, Lincoln ordered Meade not to call a council of war but to attack Lee immediately. Lincoln telegraphed his orders and then sent a special messenger to Meade demanding immediate action.
And what did General Meade do? He did the very opposite of what he was told to do. He called a council of war in direct violation of Lincoln's orders. He hesitated. He procrastinated. He telegraphed all manner of excuses. He refused point-blank to attack Lee. Finally the waters receded and Lee escaped over the Potomac with his forces.
Lincoln was furious. "What does this mean?" Lincoln cried to his son Robert. "Great God! What does this mean? We had them within our grasp, and had only to stretch forth our hands and they were ours; yet nothing that I could say or do could make the army move. Under the circumstances, almost any general could have defeated Lee. If I had gone up there, I could have whipped hm myself."
In bitter disappointment, Lincoln sat down and wrote Meade this letter. And remember, at this period of his life Lincoln was extremely conservative and restrained in his phraseology. So this letter coming from Lincoln in 1863 was tantamount to the severest rebuke.
My dear General,
I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee's escape. He was within our easy grasp, and to have closed upon him would, in connection with our other late successes, have ended the war. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely. If you could not safely attack Lee last Monday, how can you possibly do so south of the river, when you can take with you very few -- no more than two-thirds of the force you then had in hand? It would be unreasonable to expect and I do not expect that you can now effect much. Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed immeasurably because of it.
What do you suppose Meade did when he read the letter?
Meade never saw that letter. Lincoln never mailed it. It was found among his papers after his death.
My guess is -- and this is only a guess -- that after writing that letter, Lincoln looked out of the window and said to himself, "Just a minute. Maybe I ought not to be so hasty. It is easy enough for me to sit here in the quiet of the White House and order Meade to attack; but if I had been up at Gettysburg, and if I had seen as much blood as Meade has seen during the last week, and if my ears had been pierced with the screams and shrieks of the wounded and dying, maybe I wouldn't be so anxious to attack either. If I had Meade's timid temperament, perhaps I would have done just what he had done. Anyhow, it is water under the bridge now. If I send this letter, it will relieve my feelings, but it will make Meade try to justify himself. It will make him condemn me. It will arouse hard feelings, impair all his further usefulness as a commander, and perhaps force him to resign from the army."
So, as I have already said, Lincoln put the letter aside, for he had learned by bitter experience that sharp criticisms and rebukes almost invariably end in futility.
Theodore Roosevelt said that when he, as President, was confronted with a perplexing problem, he used to lean back and look up at a large painting of Lincoln which hung above his desk in the White House and ask himself, "What would Lincoln do if he were in my shoes? How would he solve this problem?"
The next time we are tempted to admonish somebody, let's pull a five-dollar bill out of our pocket, look at Lincoln's picture on the bill, and ask, "How would Lincoln handle this problem if he had it?"
Mark Twain lost his temper occasionally and wrote letters that turned the paper brown. For example, he once wrote to a man who had aroused his ire: "The thing for you is a burial permit. You have only to speak and I will see that you get it." On another occasion he wrote to an editor about a proofreader's attempts to "improve my spelling and punctuation." He ordered: "Set the matter according to my copy hereafter and see that the proofreader retains his suggestions in the mush of his decayed brain."
The writing of these stinging letters made Mark Twain feel better. They allowed him to blow off steam, and the letters didn't do any real harm, because Mark Twain's wife secretly lifted them out of the mail. They were never sent.
Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favor of it. But why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others -- yes, and a lot less dangerous. "Don't complain about the snow on your neighbor's roof," said Confucius, "when your own doorstep is unclean."
When I was still young and trying hard to impress people, I wrote a foolish letter to Richard Harding Davis, an author who once loomed large on the literary horizon of America. I was preparing a magazine article about authors, and I asked Davis to tell me about his method of work. A few weeks earlier, I had received a letter from someone with this notation at the bottom: "Dictated but not read." I was quite impressed. I felt that the writer must be very big and busy and important. I wasn't the slightest bit busy, but I was eager to make an impression on Richard Harding Davis, so I ended my short note with the words: "Dictated but not read."
He never troubled to answer the letter. He simply returned it to me with this scribbled across the bottom: "Your bad manners are exceeded only by your bad manners." True, I had blundered, and perhaps I deserved this rebuke. But, being human, I resented it. I resented it so sharply that when I read of the death of Richard Harding Davis ten years later, the one thought that still persisted in my mind -- I am ashamed to admit -- was the hurt he had given me.
If you and I want to stir up a resentment tomorrow that may rankle across the decades and endure until death, just let us indulge in a little stinging criticism -- no matter how certain we are that it is justified.
When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
Bitter criticism caused the sensitive Thomas Hardy, one of the finest novelists ever to enrich English literature, to give up forever the writing of fiction. Criticism drove Thomas Chatterton, the English poet, to suicide.
Benjamin Franklin, tactless in his youth, became so diplomatic, so adroit at handling people, that he was made American Ambassador to France. The secret of his success? "I will speak ill of no man," he said, "...and speak all the good I know of everybody."
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain -- and most fools do.
But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
"A great man shows his greatness," said Carlyle, "by the way he treats little men."
Bob Hoover, a famous test pilot and frequent performer at air shows, was returning to his home in Los Angeles from an air show in San Diego. As described in the magazine Flight Operations, at three hundred feet in the air, both engines suddenly stopped. By deft maneuvering he managed to land the plane, but it was badly damaged although nobody was hurt.
Hoover's first act after the emergency landing was to inspect the airplane's fuel. Just as he suspected, the World War II propeller plane he had been flying had been fueled with jet fuel rather than gasoline.
Upon returning to the airport, he asked to see the mechanic who had serviced his airplane. The young man was sick with the agony of his mistake. Tears streamed down his face as Hoover approached. He had just caused the loss of a very expensive plane and could have caused the loss of three lives as well.
You can imagine Hoover's anger. One could anticipate the tongue-lashing that this proud and precise pilot would unleash for that carelessness. But Hoover didn't scold the mechanic; he didn't even criticize him. Instead, he put his big arm around the man's shoulder and said, "To show you I'm sure that you'll never do this again, I want you to service my F-51 tomorrow."
Often parents are tempted to criticize their children. You would expect me to say "don't." But I will not. I am merely going to say, "Before you criticize them, read one of the classics of American journalism, 'Father Forgets.'" It originally appeared as an editorial in the People's Home Journal. We are reprinting it here with the author's permission, as condensed in the Reader's Digest:
"Father Forgets" is one of those little pieces which -- dashed off in a moment of sincere feeling -- strikes an echoing chord in so many readers as to become a perennial reprint favorite. Since its first appearance, "Father Forgets" has been reproduced, writes the author, W. Livingston Larned, "in hundreds of magazines and house organs, and in newspapers the country over. It has been reprinted almost as extensively in many foreign languages. I have given personal permission to thousands who wished to read it from school, church, and lecture platforms. It has been 'on the air' on countless occasions and programs. Oddly enough, college periodicals have used it, and high-school magazines. Sometimes a little piece seems mysteriously to 'click.' This one certainly did."
W. Livingston Larned
Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, "Goodbye, Daddy!" and I frowned, and said in reply, "Hold your shoulders back!"
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive -- and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Wel, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding -- this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.
And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!
It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: "He is nothing but a boy -- a little boy!"
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.
Instead of condemning people, let's try to understand them. Let's try to figure out why they do what they do. That's a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. "To know all is to forgive all."
As Dr. Johnson said: "God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days.."
Why should you and I?
Principle 1
Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
Copyright © 1936 by Dale Carnegie

"It's rare that a thirty-year-old has a memoir worth writing-let alone worth reading-but Alexis Ohanian's WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is an exception. This book is full of useful advice for entrepreneurs of all ages, and Alexis describes his remarkable accomplishments with an endearing combination of geekiness, enthusiasm, and sincerity."
-Nate Silver, author and statistician, FiveThirtyEight blog, New York Times―-
"WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION shows how anyone can use the power of the Internet to make the world a much cooler place to live."
-Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of, Inc.―-
"Software is eating the world and WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is your ultimate cookbook."
-Marc Andreessen, cofounder and partner at Andreessen Horowitz
"In WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION, Alexis Ohanian shows you how to share your great ideas with an unlimited world online. Ohanian charts a course for you to build a business, or create a following, or just expand your world and those of people you haven't even met. What you'll learn from Ohanian isn't taught in any school or in any modern curricula. It is the knowledge of the future-to create a better world."
- Soledad O'Brien, Journalist, CEO, Starfish Media Group―-
"Alexis talking about the internet is like Sid Vicious talking about punk. Analysts merely adopted it, but Ohanian was born in it, molded by it, and is the voice of it. A fascinating story, but more importantly: a crucial insight into the healthy proactive mindset of the tech startup world that will keep defining the future."
- Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, author of Anything You Want

In additon to starting, Alexis Ohanian has also been instrumental in other successful online ventures, including HipMunk and BreadPig.He lives in Brooklyn but remains a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins.